Tuesday, February 21, 2017

How's Your Gratitude Attitude?


Psalm 100:4
Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.
1 Thessalonians 5:18
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

Last November, my fellow Christian blogger, Deb Wolf, at Counting My Blessings, gives us this challenge:  To keep a gratitude journal, with seven entries per day, for the entire month.  I like the idea enormously, and readily take her up on it.

But as the month draws to a close, I realize this practice is one I do not wish to give up.  My decision?  To keep it going all the way into 2017 and beyond!

My gratitude journal is now an integral part of each and every day.  Customarily, I sit down with it around five o'clock each evening to recount my blessings for that day, and to, of course, give thanks.

Are some days harder than others when it comes to expressing a gratitude attitude?  You bet!  I think back in particular to the month of January, when I am either battling a constant cold or enduring the worst shoulder/neck pain one can imagine.  I recall writing this "thankful" phrase on several occasions:  I'm grateful the pain isn't worse than it is.

And sometimes, after a tough, hard, nasty, no-good day, that's the best we can come up with.

BUT . . .

It is still giving thanks.

When we visit my mother in Oxford last month, my granddaughter, Virginia Rose, is enamored with the idea of a gratitude journal.  "If I say what I'm thankful for, will you write it down, Gammie?"

"Of course," I say.  "You only have to come up with seven things."

"But I have more than that," Virginia insists.  "Can I say them all?"

"Go for it," I tell her, my pen hovering over the page.

And here's what Virginia comes up with:

  • God
  • Visiting Nana
  • Princess (the neighborhood kitty)
  • Food
  • I'm growing
  • Mom and Dad
  • Sisters
  • Henry (her cat)
  • Friends
  • Gammie and Papa (glad we made the list!)
  • God creating us
  • Gammie didn't stay lost in Lawrenceville (that is an entirely different story for another time)
  • God making the whole world
  • Jesus
  • Me!
That's some list, wouldn't you say?  I'm confident that Virginia has a full grasp of the concept of having a gratitude attitude about life.

How about you?  Do you give thanks and praise daily to God?  Are you thanking Him in all circumstances?

If not, prayerfully consider starting a gratitude journal.  You can begin small, if you wish, listing only three things per day.  And if your day is such that being thankful is the last thing on your mind, be gentle on yourself and keep it simple; the hot cup of coffee you had that morning, birds singing, sun shining, a hot shower, just to name an ordinary few.

You can do this, my friend.  And I will guarantee you it will add blessing upon blessing to your life.

Try it and see!

Amen!

16 comments:

  1. Martha, I love the gratitude journal idea. Years ago, my first journal to God was just that. I called it my "Blessing Book." I still journal many of my prayers, but you've inspired me to start daily writing my blessings again.
    Please tell Virginia that her list made me want to do one too. And while you're at it, give her a hug for me. I love Kitty cats the way she does. You can show her the picture of mine on my blog in the "About me" section if you have the time.

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    1. I love the idea of calling a gratitude journal a "Blessing Book," Beckie, because that's truly what it is recounting day by day. I'm glad this post inspired you to resume that practice.
      And I will be sure to pass your words and hug on to Virginia; she will be spending the day with me this coming Thursday, so we will visit your website to see the kitty cats together.
      Love and blessings!

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  2. Martha, Thank you for this great reminder to give thanks to the Lord in all things. As you know, I've been writing several things I'm thankful for each day since 2015. Virginia's list is amazing. She has things right, it appears. Your first Scripture started an old praise chorus in my head.

    Love and blessings!

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    1. Yes, we really can't give God enough thanks, can we, Kim? I do recall you saying something about keeping a gratitude list, but had no idea you'd been doing it since 2015. How cool is that?
      And I'm glad the Scripture inspired a praise chorus - another way to give thanks!
      Love and blessings!

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  3. I kept a gratitude journal for five years. I also have an ongoing list inspired by Ann Voskamp's 1000 Gifts. I love the Bible verse that says we should give in all circumstances--not "for" but "in" all circumstances. A great reminder to be grateful no matter what is happening. In my 10 Steps to Finding Your Happy Place, Step 9 is "Develop an attitude of gratitude." Your post is right on. A habit of gratitude will change your life--everything becomes a miracle.

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    1. Yes, Galen, having a gratitude attitude certainly does change our perspective on life from the inside out. I, too, have always loved that verse telling us to be thankful "in" all circumstances, not "for" them. It makes it so much easier to hold on to what is right and good and true in God's eyes. We should give Him thanks always!
      Love and blessings!

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  4. I love Virginia's list, Martha. Please tell her I'm so glad she thinks of things to thank God for. How old is she?

    Last month I considered keeping a journal just for thanking God for the blessings He gives. That very day, I received a surprise gift from my sister of a new journal! It amazed me how God works. So since January 24 I have been journaling gratitude more. I don't every day, but I'm aiming at doing it more often. I am trying to think of something especially on the tough days, too, like you recommended. Those are days when I especially need to recount His blessings. Even when I don't feel well, God gives sufficient grace for the day. Or when I'm having a hard time emotionally, God graciously helps me to remember His Truth. Thank you for this encouragement. Love and hugs!

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    1. Wow, Trudy, that's a remarkable story about your sister sending you a journal just at the moment you were thinking of starting a gratitude list! But then again, our God can never be underestimated, can He? I just love how He surprises us sometimes even in the smallest gestures.
      And I sure hear you about those "bad" days as I described above. But you are so right that we can always be thankful to God when we recount the marvelous things He has done for us.
      And I'm glad you loved Virginia's list (I did, too!). She is six-years-old.
      Love and blessings!

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  5. There are times when gratitude is hard to have. One things I am grateful for is I have written so much down through the years that all I have to do is pick up any notebook and there right before me is all the things I can be thankful for. I don't journal much anymore but I don't need to because of years of doing it, my notebooks are full. Great list,

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    1. I think it's marvelous, Betty, that you have been so faithful in keeping a record of your experiences over the years. What a treasure to have! And isn't it wonderful that you can turn to any page and find something for which you are grateful? Praise God!
      Love and blessings!

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  6. Hi Martha! I follow a daily examination of conscience, and the first thing you do is say what you are most grateful for that day. Like Virginia Rose, I have many! It really is good to let the Lord know how much we appreciate his presence in our lives, and that we do understand that he is the author of all good.
    What a great habit you are starting, and sharing it with Virginia is so precious. I bet she'll ask you again to write down her blessings :)
    God's blessings to you,
    Ceil

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    1. Ceil, I sure like the idea of a daily examination of conscience, and that this begins with acknowledging the things you are grateful for. God is the author of all good things, and there is so much for which to give Him thanks and praise, if we take the focus off ourselves and place it directly on Him.
      And I do plan to make this a habit with Virginia every time I have her with me. It can be part of our "God" time together!
      Love and blessings!

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  7. wow the faith of kids! focusing on gratitude always lifts my spirit and draws me closer to God. amazing practice i am grateful for friendships like yours!

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    1. Yes, Jean, "let the little children come to me and do not hinder them." Kids have more spiritual wisdom than we give them credit for, that's for sure!
      I, too, am so grateful for your friendship, and meeting you in person was the first gratitude item I wrote down on last Monday's list. :)
      Love and blessings!

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  8. What a good word, Martha!
    I love the idea of making a list of the things you are thankful for! And Virginia sounds like a precious little girl!
    Blessings to you today,
    Melanie

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    1. Thank you, Melanie! Yes, Virginia is my special little buddy, and quite precocious at times. :)
      Love and blessings!

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